Now that President Barack Obama has decided to call Mount McKinley by the name Denali instead, NBC News has seen fit to call attention to an obscure MoveOn.org petition seeking to change the name of President William McKinley High School in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The online petition to rename McKinley High hosted by Moveon.org — a progressive advocacy group and political action committee — has garnered 1,080 signatures as of early Monday morning.
The full name of the MoveOn.org petition is: “Correct a wrong by restoring the original name of Mckinley [sic] High School, Honolulu High School.”
The creator of the petition, Aoloa Patao, argues that the name of McKinley High must be changed because it is a sad reminder of “the prolonged illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom by the United States.”
“Residing along Pensacola Street in Honolulu, Hawai’i, sits President William Mckinley [sic] High School, seemingly an apt name to honor the 25th president, William McKinley,” the petition states. “But, to those of us who know the truth about what really happened with the overthrow of Hawaiian Monarchy and the prolonged illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom by the United States, we do not celebrate William McKinley. I urge the Superintendent of Education, Kathryn S. Matayoshi, the Board of Education members listed above and whomever is concerned, to take action in correcting a wrong and rename McKinley High School back to one of its original names, Honolulu High School.”
Patao, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, appeals to “legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com” for the definition of “joint resolution” to argue that the U.S. Congress acted illegally in 1898 when it passed the Newlands Resolution to annex Hawaii. Patao is also angry that the resolution “was signed into United States law by the imperialist, President William McKinley.”
Patao’s quasi-royalist Moveon.org petition first appeared in June (and thus has gathered an average of about nine new signatures each day). However, NBC News swears, the petition has seen a renaissance ever since Obama chose to refer to Mount McKinley, North America’s tallest mountain peak, as Denali.
Mount McKinley has been officially known as Denali in Alaska since the 1970s. However, Alaska’s attempts to have the Koyukon name adopted at the federal level had been stymied by lawmakers from Ohio, the birthplace of McKinley, America’s 25th president. (RELATED: Obama Admin Takes Assassinated President’s Name Off Alaskan Mountain Peak)
The Obama administration announced the change in August when Obama visited Alaska to lobby support for his climate change plan.
“With our own sense of reverence for this place, we are officially renaming the mountain Denali in recognition of the traditions of Alaska Natives and the strong support of the people of Alaska,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.
McKinley High School is among Hawaii’s oldest schools. It was established in 1865. It was rechristened as Honolulu High School in 1895 and then renamed again in 1907 to honor McKinley.
“McKinley High School perpetuates and lauds a name and a man who seemingly did wonders in the eyes of many Americans, but truth be told, his legacy in Hawaii was imperialistic, dishonorable and a violation of international law,” Patao has proclaimed, according to NBC News.
McKinley High principal Ron Okamura observed that high schools cannot change names lightly.
“Growing up here, growing up local, growing up in the islands, I think that’s one of the strongest bonds we have to our community is our high school,” Okamura told Hawaii News Now last month.
Notable McKinley High alumni include Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye and actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Hawaii is home to a tiny but vocal and radical secessionist movement.
In recent months, the University of Hawaii at Hilo has given into a small group of secessionists and spent $33,000 to construct flagpoles that will ensure the U.S. flag doesn’t fly above the Hawaiian one. (RELATED: University Of Hawaii Caves To Secessionists)
The Hawaii sovereignty activists pulled down an American flag from its flagpole at the main entrance to UH-Hilo in December, and then hoisted up the Hawaiian flag by itself, in order to protest the “illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom by the United States.” They then delivered the U.S. flag to administrators, demanding that henceforth the Hawaiian flag should be given precedence on flagpoles.
One Hawaii independence activist celebrated the school’s decision as an admission that Hawaii is illegally occupied.
“By putting two separate poles up, they (UH-Hilo) have recognized us as a nation not conquered,” Joseph Kaululo told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. “There is no flag flying right now at UHH and Hawaii Community College. So, the only flag now flying is the one around our ahu (stone altar). We are the only ones in power right now.”